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Rain or Shine: Umbrellas at the Met

Time: 2016-03-18

the first umbrellas functioned as portable canopies, probably assembled from the broad leaves of a tree. Seen in ancient artifacts and sculptures from China, Egypt, Greece, and the Near East, they often indicated divine or royal status, and were generally entrusted to attendants to carry.



During Japan's Edo period, beautiful paper umbrellas enjoyed great popularity. They are frequently seen in colorful woodblock prints protecting users from sun, rain, and snow.



Indeed, the chic nineteenth-century woman in Europe and America was rarely seen in public without a parasol, which safeguarded her complexion and showed off her discriminating taste. Such well-dressed ladies were depicted by many artists of the day.